Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1) #107

Credits:

Cover Date: August 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“When the Grey Gargoyle Strikes!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

“Tales of Asgard: Balder Must Die!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Vince Colletta

What’s Going On?

A new villain, the Grey Gargoyle, is looking to steal the gift of immortality from Thor.

Details:

In “When the Grey Gargoyle Strikes”:

  • Thinking that Jane Foster had left work for the day, Donald Blake transforms into Thor…only to be discovered by Jane, and have to make a fast excuse: he’s there to punish Blake for his recent betrayal!

  • Jane argues on Blake’s behalf to Thor, and reveals that she still loves Blake.

  • This cheers Thor up considerably!

  • Meanwhile, the Grey Gargoyle has come to New York City to defeat Thor and take his hammer. He believes Thor’s hammer will grant him immortality.

  • The Gargoyle transforms a few random people into stone statues, in order to get Thor’s attention. When he is sure that Thor is looking into the mystery, he strikes. But Thor is more formidable that GG expected!

  • The Grey Gargoyle manages to stun Thor for a moment, only to discover that he cannot pick up Thor’s hammer. He satisfies himself with turning Thor to stone, before being chased off by the police.

  • Luckily for Thor, he was off-balance when the GG transformed him; when he inevitably fell, his hammer hit the ground and transformed him back into Donald Blake!

  • Blake reasons that, if he transforms back into Thor, he will become living stone again. That means he must defeat the Grey Gargoyle as the weak Doctor Blake.

  • Blake hatches a plan. He will ride around town, projecting a 3D image of Thor in the air, until the Grey Gargoyle sees “Thor” and attacks. When he realizes that it is not the real Thor, the GG will then chase Blake.

  • The plan worked! The Grey Gargoyle was confused by the Thor image, and figured out it was coming from Blake’s projector. Blake let the villain chase him, and led them both into the waters of the Hudson River.

  • The Grey Gargoyle’s stone body sinks quickly, and is swept out to sea. He either drowns or…doesn’t. Blake doesn’t care enough to check.

In “Tales of Asgard: Balder Must Die”:

  • Loki wants to kill the invulnerable Balder —- just because he hates seeing happy people —- so he goes to the Norn Queen for information. Against her will, she tells him that mistletoe is Balder’s lone vulnerability.

  • Loki plots to kill Balder with a mistletoe blow dart, but the Norn Queen stopped him. Like all other living things, she has pledged to protect Balder from harm.

Is It Good?

It’s okay. The main plot is pretty dumb, but it did rehabilitate Don Blake’s reputation effectively. It was nice to see something positive in the Donald/Jane relationship, too; the page of Thor celebrating her love was very cute, definitely not something we’ve seen before in this comic.

Continuity:

  • Jane Foster was upset with Donald Blake for appearing to betray Thor in Journey Into Mystery #106.
  • This is the first appearance of Paul Duval, the Grey Gargoyle.

  • The Grey Gargoyle’s right hand is made of “living stone,” and anything he touches is transformed into living stone for one hour. His victims are still alive, but they are basically transformed into statues. He can do the same thing to his own body, except he remains mobile.

  • The Grey Gargoyle’s powers were the result of a lab accident, back when he was a chemist in Paris.

  • The Avengers have “top federal priority.”

  • The Grey Gargoyle is not worthy enough to lift Thor’s hammer.

  • Balder the Brave’s sole weakness is mistletoe.
  • This is the first appearance of Karnilla, the Norn Queen. She is a sorceress of great power and knowledge, surpassing even Loki.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • I realize that Kirby is using perspective in this panel, but it looks like Thor’s hand is morphing into a snake that is going to bite that officer.

  • Donald Blake, Boy Detective:

  • What do you base this on? His other victims turn back to flesh and blood in an hour.

  • Let’s untangle this logical mess. Donald Blake knows about a top-secret 3D projector that Tony Stark has created because…Iron Man mentioned it to the Avengers? So Blake tells a TV guy to borrow Stark’s projector and mount it on a motorcycle? And the idea is for Blake to drive the motorcycle and project an image of Thor, until the Grey Gargoyle notices and starts to chase the 3D image? And the TV guy assisted Blake (and provided the motorcycle and some other equipment) because Blake would also be recording the action, presumably with the 3D projector (which is also a movie camera, then?), and would give him the resulting film as a news scoop? Okay…but Blake’s plan includes driving the motorcycle (and the top-secret, experimental camera/projector) into the Hudson River. How did the TV guy or Tony Stark ever get back their stuff?

  • It’s worth pointing out that Tony Dtark invented a 3D projector that allows you to control the actions of the projected image. He basically invented video games, but in 3D.
  • Does Balder singing to the animals make him Marvel’s first Disney princess?

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